If the Portland Timbers play a preseason game, but none of us saw it, did it even really happen?
The answer to that is a resounding yes, as the Portland Timbers played two 45 minutes scrimmages against the Colorado Rapids and USL Championship side Phoenix Rising in Tucson, Arizona today as part of their preseason preparations.
And, as it has been with most nice things this past year, we were unfortunately unable to fully enjoy it, as there were no livestreams for the matches.
But, the matches still played out on social media as they played out on the field, so we still have some sense of how the two halves of soccer went down.
Gooooooood morning, #RCTID!— Portland Timbers (@TimbersFC) March 16, 2021
We'll be playing two 45 minute training games today, the first against @ColoradoRapids. Here's how we're lining up:
Asprilla, Attinella, Bonilla, Ikoba (Timbers Academy), McGraw, Tuiloma, Williamson, Zambrano, Trialist 1, Trialist 2, Trialist 3
For Portland’s first game against the Colorado Rapids, the Timbers rolled out a very reserve-heavy lineup, with Eryk Williamson the only presumptive opening day starter in this group. The first Timbers group also featured three trialists who are in preseason camp, as well as Tega Ikoba, a 17-year-old forward in the Timbers Academy system.
The Rapids, on the other hand, rolled out a much more first-choice squad. The game subsequently proceeded as one might have expected due to that fact, and Colorado jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the 17th minute. the Timbers came close to equalizing in the 25th minute, as Ikoba rattled the crossbar with a first time shot.
A little action for the good guys, Tega Ikoba pings the crossbar 25 minutes in. pic.twitter.com/fClo9d5kW5— Portland Timbers (@TimbersFC) March 16, 2021
Portland would never find the net however, and Colorado would add a second just before the scrimmage was over.
About an hour later, Portland kicked off their second half of soccer of the day against Phoenix, this team featuring a much stronger lineup for the Timbers:
Our second 45 minute training game kicks off shortly against @PHXRisingFC. Our lineup:— Portland Timbers (@TimbersFC) March 16, 2021
Bravo, Clark, D. Chara, Y. Chara, Ebobisse, Mabiala, Mora, Paredes, Valeri, Van Rankin, Zuparic #RCTID pic.twitter.com/oHnz8XCtiI
You could very much almost call that group a regular game day roster, and it appeared to show, as Portland kept Phoenix off the scoresheet for the entirety of their 45 minute training match. While the side was sure to have created several scoring opportunities, there did appear to be just a bit of consternation, as evidenced by Felipe Mora’s expression in this picture.
For however much resistance the Phoenix Rising side showed, it wouldn’t last. The Timbers eventually found the net for the first time in their preseason matches in the 25th minute, although it did appear to be one of the more ... unique goals you’ll see:
25’ - Goal Timbers! Sort of. Diego Valeri played a ball through to Felipe Mora, and a Phoenix defender deflected into net for own goal. 1-0.— Portland Timbers (@TimbersFC) March 16, 2021
Yes, this is the only video clip we have. Yes, it was bizarre. #RCTID pic.twitter.com/cbhy0NNfFn
It appears Portland’s goal came via a quite wicked deflection from a defender off of a Diego Valeri pass that was meant for Felipe Mora, ending in that rather humorous and appropriate eight-second clip above. Unique circumstances aside, the 1-0 lead would hold, and Portland ended their second 45 minutes of preseason as the victor over Phoenix Rising, much to the delight of the small and very mighty smattering of local Tucson Timbers faithful who watched from afar.
Away day legends. We love ya! #RCTID pic.twitter.com/fUglDECXk2— Portland Timbers (@TimbersFC) March 16, 2021
Their first full day and first games in Tucson under their belts, the Timbers will continue to train in Arizona, and are back in action in a rematch against Phoenix Rising on Saturday, March 20.